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In the early 1930s, Ayii Tendulkar, a young journalist from a small town in Maharashtra, traveled to Germany to pursue a doctorate in statistics. There, Ayii, eventually became well-known journalist in Berlin and he met and fell in love with the renowned filmmaker Thea von Harbou, the writer of the classic films Metropolis
and the former wife of legendary director Fritz Lang. They later married.
In this unique account, Laxmi Tendulkar Dhaul—the dauther of Ayii and his third wife Indumati Gunaji—traces the turbulent lives of her parents and that of Thea von Harbou against the backdrop of Nazi Germany and Gandhi’s India. The book describes how Thea, many years Ayii’s senior, became his support and mainstay in Germany, helping him in his attempts to bring young Indian students to the country. Hitler’s rise to power put an end to that effort, and, on Thea’s advice, Ayii returned to India, where the outspoken journalist became involved in Gandhi’s campaign of non-cooperation with the British, and where, with Thea’s consent, he soon married Indumati, a Gandhian activist. Caught up in the whirlwind of Gandhi’s activism, Indumati and Ayii spent several years in Indian prisons, being able to live as a married couple only after their release, managing thereby to comply with a condition Gandhi himself had put on their marriage—that they remain apart for several years.
Using a wealth of documents, letters, newspaper articles and photographs, including personal papers never before seen, Berlin to Gandhi weaves together the tangled histories of two women, the man they loved, their own growing friendship, and two countries battling violence and non-violence, fascism, and colonialism.